THE WIDOWMAKER: HEART ATTACKS ARE ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE

By Terry Carter and Steve Rogers

More than 600,000 Americans die annually due to heart attacks. For more than 30 percent of them, their fatal cardiac arrest was their first event, according to a hard-hitting Netflix documentary airing now.

Does heart disease run in your family or a friend’s family? If so, find “The Widowmaker” on Netflix and learn what some physicians may not be sharing with you about prevention and a coronary artery scan for calcium. Additionally consider that heart attacks and strokes are completely preventable if you take the right steps, cardiologists say.

Some solutions, however, are not included in the documentary. I will explain later.

The 600,000 number exceeds the number of annual deaths from all cancers combined. Millions of lives have been lost while heart disease testing and treatments have improved. According to the documentary, about one-third of heart attack patients are asymptomatic. In other words, they had no signs of heart disease before the fatal episode.

In some cases, the asymptomatic heart attacks happen to lean, athletic people who eat healthy, exercise 5-7 days a week and appear in great shape. They had zero indicators of an unhealthy heart, doctors and patients on the documentary stated. More women die of heart attack than men, and five times as women die of heart attack than breast cancer.

“The Widowmaker” is essentially a documentary about the battle between finding heart disease before cardiac arrest starts or treating it with a stent or by-pass surgery after that initial heart attack. That strategy, if my math is correct, allows for nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. to die annually because they don’t live long enough to undergo potentially life-saving by-pass or stent surgery.

If, as the documentary portrays, insurance companies cover a $30,000 stent operation, but do not cover a $200 coronary artery scan, that is bad news for prevention.

But Texans have an advantage over much of the nation in that a 2009 bill called the Texas Heart Attack Prevention Bill was signed into state law by Texas Governor Rick Perry. The law requires insurance companies to pay for CT scans and ultrasound tests that can detect heart disease, particularly plaque and calcium deposits that clogs blood vessels like the coronary arteries. Age ranges and health conditions exist, so check this out before you march in and demand full re-imbursement.

Other states have not introduced such a measure, which is still debated between legislators, medical professionals and insurance companies. Texas apparently stands as the first exception to the logic that treating a heart attack may be better than preventing it. But it is a battle that has cost thousands of lives since the test was created.

While I will not be a physician, I know common sense when I see it. Prevention is better. The CT scan and the ultrasound of the heart are very helpful in current analysis, even when a stress test and EKG have failed to find an heart issue. Watch “The Widowmaker” carefully.

In the name of prevention, it is also important to eat the right foods, not just any healthy diet. I have run across supplements that help diabetics like myself, and diabetics are more likely to have heart disease. Additionally I have researched and uncovered with the assistance of forward-thinking medical professionals, diets and supplementation options that should become a daily part of the every man and woman’s diet with no exceptions.

Again, I ask you: Do you have heart disease in your family? Or do you have a friend, neighbor or co-worker who has mentioned a heart attack or stroke in their family? That covers a majority of families in America, by the way.

If so, take unreasonable action today and stop sitting on your butt waiting for your first — and possibly last — cardiac arrest event. Email me at retiredbrucelee@gmail.com for simple details that may help enormously that your medical professional either doesn’t know or may not share. I have total respect for physicians, and I have learned they are brilliant in many areas. But nutrition and prevention are not high on that list.

Get the tests mentioned above today. If you live in Texas, the tests must be covered by your insurance. Even out-of-pocket cost on one test is around $200.

Then email me for a plan that can keep you out of the hospital.

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WINNING THE GAME OF LIFE, Part 2: Say Hello To IT

By Terry Carter, Editor

I have lived with IT for five decades. But until last night, the formal introduction had never occurred.

This disabling, limiting, evil entity has thrived in the bowels of your version of the Matrix — and mine — while avoiding the spotlight. . If my life were a TV program on Netflix, I believe CSI, Sherlock Holmes and M6 (including 007) would be hard pressed to ID this culprit. IT is a sneaking mastermind.

I would venture that I may never have met my enemy without this formal introduction. And I was lucky to have two introductions on Thursday — one formal and one to confirm the ghost I thought I saw in the mirror. Deja vu, Neo.

My life has been about understanding and helping others while trying to reason the hows and whys of life. Currently I am working on a project to improve the health, lives and futures of 50,000 people in the next five years.

This blog is no academic dissertation on hypothetical elements. Last night I met my personal saboteur, my own limiter face-to-face, and my IT is a constant foe. IT is alive and using all of your intellect to trip you and I. It is unique to each of us, and I can best describe it as the lowest, base voice that you hear every time you wish to achieve or step out of your comfort zone. Coast, lay low and worry only about yourself, and IT backs off to celebrate its victory over your free will.

IT is a Negative Nellie, a Naysayer, the Mr. evil Hyde to the kind, talented Dr. Jekyll and the supremely evil James Moriarty to the genius detective Sherlock Holmes. Yes, the Sherlock Holmes series I watched briefly last night confirmed that Moriarty represents the selfish, primal voice in all of us.

Last night I listened intently to dozens of high achievers, including close friends, define their IT, their predictable mode that drags them down, makes them less than they could be, limits their growth. IT occurs entirely inside your skull, but the effects are felt through our bodies, businesses and lives.

Then I heard this sarcastic bombshell: IT has thoughts, and you think you are thinking those thoughts.

An initial thought: Perhaps there is a common theme between self-help books, science-fiction films, and governments taking over our brains.

Now that you know we all have an IT shooting down our best efforts and biggest dreams with a pair of six-shooters with unlimited ammunition, how do you work through that?

Stay tuned as this multi-part series, much like our lives, is a hilly work in progress with valleys and mountains to traverse.

VOICES OF REASON AND LOVE ARE LOST

By Terry Carter, Editor

Another voice of reason and love was lost recently. This time, a good man passed away after a planned heart surgery went awry.

A week later, my aunt passed away, leaving many in shock because her life too had been an example of how to help others in good times and bad

Sweeny Jamison Doehring set an example for nearly everyone in our church. I knew him as Mr. Dependable, someone we could all count for wisdom, kindness and a Christian view on life. He was an Aggie’s Aggie, so we at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church honored him by wearing Texas A&M gear to his special event at church.

We will miss you, J. And we pray that your family stays strong, united and productive as they are also our family.

My aunt passed away in Richmond, Indiana, and I miss her dearly. She was the voice of peace and fun when I was young and our family visited during the summers. Mert was one of a kind. She was always kind, considerate and would give you the last piece of food in her home if you even looked hungry.

I recall my family of five driving from Michigan to Richmond one summer when I was perhaps nine years old. We arrived in the evening, unpacked, settled in and enjoyed a great, four-course meal prepared by my grandmother.

Early the day, my Aunt Mert called with great enthusiasm to invite the three Carter brothers on an expedition she had researched and thought we might enjoy. I specifically remember mentioning this in vague terms to my not-quite-awake, older brothers, who said something akin to “No thanks.” When I told Mert thanks, but no thanks and hung up, I turned around to find myself nose-to-nose with the most powerful person in the State of Indiana, in my opinion.

And that power force in my life, my grandmother, raised her voice just slightly for emphasis, saying that was a mistake to take Aunt Mert for granted. Then she suggested in no uncertain terms that no one should ever turn down an invitation from Mert again.

As I turned to call Mert back and apologize, the phone rang. My determined aunt had already taken days off of work in preparation for our visit to Indiana. And she called back with the second of probably 30 events she wanted us to enjoy. She never quits, which I find a valuable quality in life. This time Mert suggested a day outdoors picking strawberries — and eating as many as you want — for free.

Having learned my lesson for the day, I committed all three brothers without their permission and off we went. It became one of the strongest and best memories I have about vacationing in Indiana with my family. Thank you, Mert. I love you and everyone in this amazing family.

Mert also seemed to host card games every night, ranging from Gin Rummy to Euchre, at her home. Those were great times, innocent times and the best of times for this young man.

THE CHOICE FOR LIFE

By Terry Carter, Editor

When you were a child, what inspired and powered you each day? Why did you fly out of bed each morning?

Were you:

A) Filled with energy 24 hours a day, always chasing the next game, party or thrilling ride because of the fun? If so, you may have played sports or joined dance, band/orchestra or theater classes as soon as possible.

B) The curious one who liked to read, study, get ahead of homework and evaluate opportunities/situations? If so, you were a strong student and enjoyed learning new hobbies, skills.

C) Did you join the events already organized or started by family and friends and let others show the way? If so, you may also have been the peacemaker in your family. You were the glue for your family.

D) Or did you play leader of the pack as a child with all of your friends trying to keep up with you and the trends you established? If this was your natural strength, you made the bold choices without regret and adjusted strategy to win games, contests and really just control the room.

Nearly all of us have two of these four characteristics as a personal strength, and they work together as a team to make us the person our friends and family loved when we were young. Trouble is, not all of us find a career with our born strengths. We often have to learn new skills like organization, promptness, setting an alarm clock and being nice to co-workers to earn and keep a job.

Still some skills feel like a cage that boxes us in, so we cannot grow to our potential. If you had those characteristics as a child/student, you probably don’t feel tied down by your gifts.

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With your answers in mind, now consider: Are you using that personal strengths in your current life and career that helped you grow into a valuable adult? Odds are that nearly half of you are not using your natural strengths.

About two decades ago, I was recruited to work at a technical support call center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a significant change from my journalism career and customer service background. I entered the job with a natural strength combo that was fun-loving and ready to lead a team.

Call center work, however, focuses on analysis, deductive reasoning and troubleshooting with great customer service. I could have failed at that position because it didn’t suit my natural strengths. But I was looking for a new opportunity at the time — ALERT: fun-loving people get bored easily, and leaders leave jobs if they are not given growth opportunities — was eager to learn something new.

So I sat at a desk and took incoming calls on computer problems, but my fun-loving side got to play Nerf basketball and video games while solving major hardware/software issues. In retrospect, I can attest that my analytical skills are now among my best skills that I can draw on in any situation. It was semi built-in like my base characteristics because I have always been very good with numbers.

Conclusion: If you are working and using your childhood strengths at full force, congratulations. You probably have good self-esteem and knew your advantages in life before you picked a college and career path.

If you have switched away from your natural strengths, you have two options: Enjoy the journey and learn all you can from this new opportunity.

Or investigate the true strengths in your childhood and reconnect with those super powers. If you were a follower, you can become a leader again without departing a quality employer or partner. Keep your eyes open for a chance to plug-in one of your dormant powers. The world will thank you.

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My advice to 98 percent of adults is to remember your childhood and the happiest times. Whatever you did on those days will still bring you joy today. So do the homework and chase personal happiness over career happiness.

We all know a lot of unhappy coworkers or bosses who never seem to smile or enjoy the moment. That attitude sucks, friend. It hurts that person’s health and the attitude — if not the health — of everyone they come in contact with.

Since you are likely interest in living your best life and not a miserable waste of time, I suggest we all actively pursue happiness at home, when we look in the mirror, when we drive and at work.

Let your smile come out and play. Studies are showing that happy people are more productive, even if they spend extra time playing on the Wii or meditating. And a happy office — hey boss, this is in your hands too — not only works better together, but the employees are more loyal and they go out of their way to help coworkers.

Let the leaders lead. Let the peacemakers lead too because they are not confrontational; it is a sweet change to the Type-A hot head.

Bottom Line: We are all magnificently made with unique and wonderful talents. Don’t hide your glory. Let it shine and share your perspective, wisdom and skills with those around you. This is another way to improve our little blue planet.

 

 

 

 

HOW BAD IS HEARTBREAK?

By Terry Carter

When we are young, many of us think we are invincible. Then we suffer heartbreak and slowly begin to realize we are not quite bulletproof.

I remember being paralyzed while enduring a traumatic breakup years ago. It was among the lowest moments in my life. I felt helpless, always angry and desperate for a solution. Every day was a “Don’t bother me” nightmare.

If you are there now, know that time soothes most, but not all, pain. Lessons are learned from being in pain, particularly long-term pain like a lost love.

I once thought that my heartbreak would last forever. However I worked on my mindset, my vulnerability, my frustration and my healing until I was ready to test the dating world again. As with most painful events, personal determination to play the long game was the redeeming quality that helped the most.

That and God’s grace to ease my pain.

And somewhere around November 1984, I met a beautiful, petite blonde with a strong, spunky personality. She was kind, considerate and playful. She has changed my world for the better for about 33 years. Without the my future spouse taking my hand, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

She has been a huge blessing in so many ways.

Have we always been blessed with good fortune and amazing gifts from heaven? In the short term, the answer often appears to be no as people always disagree. We are all human after all.

But step back from my latest squabble with a human being, and I can see that Suzie is a lifetime blessing. She has managed to deal with me for three decades, and I have grown exponentially at certain times in mental and philosophical ways. So that can be hard to deal with.

Plus I began working out consistently and learning to run again after an injury some six years ago. Surgery, rehab, changing diets, diabetes, work schedules and 100 other things pull us in opposite directions.

Yet I love Suzie, and she still lets me take her to dinner. That’s pretty good when boredom, restlessness and worse are exceptionally common among a lot of people our age.

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For those of you hoping to keep your relations alive for the long term, cry when your loved one is sad. Cheer when they are happy. And share love every change you get (verbal approval or a hug or a sympathetic ear may be all they need for the moment).

Stay in moment and really try to hear what your loved one says to you. You likely don’t have all the answers, and you shouldn’t. But be willing to give 100 percent to search for the lost screwdriver or finger nail polish if you are asked. It makes an impression on the heart of the person you love the most.

I sincerely recommend you don’t take advantage of or manipulate your loved one as these things leave long-lasting emotional scars. That’s a Type-A or immature maneuver that sinks boats — and relationships — pretty quick.

I am a firm believer in hope, faith and prayer to solve the toughest problems — and to thank the Lord for his daily miracles. Recently meditation, which still gets curious looks from even friends, neighbors and my loving spouse, helps me to focus on what is truly important in life.

It is my way of discarding stress that accumulates daily and allows free radicals to damage our health, our best thinking and creativity.

While heartbreak cannot always avoided, I recommend that your prayers or meditation can often conclude by asking God to allow the Holy Spirit (aka fate) to rule the day for the greater good.

If a breakup today benefits you moving from LA to New York and eventually meeting the person you marry, don’t wait 10 years to say thank you for the breakup and the move. Try acknowledging God’s path even when its purpose is totally bewildering to you today.

By accepting life’s oddities as God’s move to benefit us or people we care about, the future can often look more worthwhile both today and in the future. What happens will happen. How you respond determines whether the happening was a victory or a defeat in your mind.

 

 

TOP 10 LIST FROM MICHIGAN

By Terry Carter

Vacation hunters and travelers alike, be a Wolverine or a Spartan for while.

Michigan ranks as one of the best states to visit for a variety of reasons. The state has rugged outdoors for the hunters and perhaps the best fishing in the nation with all  of those Great Lakes. Technology also looms large in the Great Lakes’ State, as do trendsetters and deep historical roots.

Today I will provide my Top 10 Points of Interest in Michigan. They may or may not entice you to journey north and play in the Land of Great Lakes. Please keep in mind that this list is hybrid composite from my days as a child when I lived for six years in Western Michigan. Good times, but mountains of snow. Enough said.

  1. First the basic facts I learned in school: MICHIGAN became a state in Jaunary 1837, so Longhorns and Wolverines have that timeframe in common. What makes Michigan unique, however, is that they are the largest state east of the Mississippi River. Today Michigan ranks 10th in population and 11th in total area with a capital of Lansing. 
  2. Football and basketball are big sports in Michigan. Think of the University of Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor and Michrigan State Spartans in East Lansing. The Wolverines feature the largest college stadiums in the country, and it has been able to handle 107, 601 ticket holders for football games. Michigan also was the all-time, winningest college football team with more than 900 wins the last time I looked.
  3. Michigan features the Cherry Capital of the World in Traverse City. Check it out.
  4. The Cereal Capital in Kalamazoo where numerous companies make dozens of the most popular breakfast treats.
  5. Golf is diverse and world class in Michigan. I grew up in Western Michigan and thrived on numerous private and city golf courses. Among my favorites is Chase Hammond, a City of Muskegon layout with tree-lined fairways and fast greens. I should challenge my brother to reunite up there for a golfing reunion with some of our old golfing friends, including Paul.
  6. The Lakes of and throughout Michigan make it a heaven for fishermen and sportsmen. Don’t mess with the wolverine, but the fishing is pure and crazy good when the lakes are not frozen over.
  7. Weather in Michigan varies from perfect in the summer to near-Artic-Zone cold in the winter. I recall summer days with high temperatures in the low- to mid-80s and lows in the 50s. No A/C needed in that area. In the winter, however, Michigan continues to operate when Texans would be inside drinking hot chocolate because of an ice storm or temperatures below zero. The schools in Michigan probably still run busses and operate when temperatures fall to -10 or -20 degrees. They are a stubborn, resilient lot, much like Texas, but just with 5-6 layers on.
  8. Michigan features a unique little spot that as highlighted in the Christopher Reeves movie filmed on Mackinac Island. No motorized vehicles are allowed. You either walk or ride a bike up there. And the famous hotel that Reeves visited in Somewhere in Time is only open in the spring, summer and fall. They shut down during the brutal winter months.
  9. Need an escape from the world you know? Try Holland, Michigan, where wooden shoes for what is known as the Holland Festival. 
  10. Finally visit Michigan for the fun of it. Bring your golf club, your fishing pole. If you swing it, purchase a summer home up there for the hot summer months we endure here in Texas. Then in the winter, get back to Texas where the snow rarely invades.

YODA: LIVE YOUR LIFE, YOU MUST

Every time we watch a television program or movie, we are watching others live their scripted lives. In retrospect, this may be one of the biggest wastes of time in our lives if we watch 1-2 programs each day.

Some years ago, I recall a friend reminding me that people on TV programs don’t waste time watching TV. Based on their script, they are to provide active comedy, drama, tragedy, etc. — not to simply view others live in a fictional world. I recall about 25 years ago eliminating cable TV from my home when my three children were young. It seems there could have been a lot of complaining — and perhaps I remember only the happier moments — but protests, strikes and throwing fits didn’t happen.

We simply turned out attention to playing outside more often, taking trips, spending time with the family and handling our responsibilities.